Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Farewell Sir Ed

Sir Edmund Hillary.
July 20, 1919 - January 11, 2008.

Ed Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay
To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sir Ed and the children of Nepal.

From the website of the Himalayan Trust UK:
On May 29th 1953 in the British Expedition led by John Hunt, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Sherpa became the first men to set foot on the summit of Mount Everest. In the years that followed, Sir Edmund returned repeatedly to Nepal, and to his friends the Sherpas.

The Sherpas are some of the most friendly, generous and tough people on earth, but their lot is a hard one, living at high altitude, without most resources that we take for granted in the west.

Inspired by his admiration and respect for these people Sir Edmund created The Himalayan Trust in 1960. Since creation the work of the Trust has been based on a few simple but profound principles

The principles of the Himalayan Trust:
  • provide basic infrastructure needs that the Sherpas really want (education, health, forests, monastery repairs and response to natural disasters)

  • the Sherpas themselves to eagerly contribute time and effort to the projects- this "self help" confirming the importance and relevance of the work

  • the Trust to rely on voluntary workers and virtually eliminate overheads

  • the donations to be transfered direct to the projects in Nepal; no money paid to middlemen or agents.

The results of his extraordinary efforts have been both moving and immensely beneficial, and resulted in the creation of many schools, hospitals, health centres and new forests.

Achievements of the Himalayan Trust
  • Two hospitals and thirteen health clinics have been built.

  • Over 30 schools have been built.

  • Over 100 students receive grants annually from the Trust for further and higher education. A programme of women’s Literacy Classes is evolving into Adult Education.

  • For Sherpas, improvements in life expectancy have been achieved through programmes to control tuberculosis, smallpox and other life-threatening infectious diseases. Stillbirth and infant mortality has been reduced.

  • Almost 100,000 young trees are nurtured each year and more than 1 million have been planted in 25 protected sites.

  • Several Sherpas have gained degrees following training in forestry and in national park management in New Zealand and Canada.

  • A three-year Primary Teacher Training project in Solu Khumbu attracted 200 teachers and is seen by HM Govt. of Nepal as a model for other rural areas. This has been so successful that it has been extended for another three years.

  • A three-year Secondary Teacher Training project is being grant aided by the The Community Fund with the grant matched by the UK Himalayan Trust.

  • A pre-University Campus has been established in Solu district and attracts a high proportion of young women.

  • The re-building of Thyangboche Monastery after a fire was helped mainly by the Himalayan Trust.

  • The building of a new monastery at Salleri was achieved by the Trust matching money raised by local people, mainly by those who now live and work in Kathmandu.

  • Isolated communities are helped to re-build washed away bridges and tracks; drinking water systems have been constructed.

  • HM Government has been encouraged to create National Parks and has been advised on their management.

  • Sherpas trained with support from the Trust are wardens of Nepal's National Parks.

  • Above all, the Sherpas are being helped to overcome some of the harshness of their environment and to work for a better future, whilst retaining their independence.

Useful links

Sherpa child with writing tablet.

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